NOT decision day!

Today has been a try-it-out day, not a day for making decisions. In fact, I’m so far from making decisions that I think possibly this may be a bit of a series!

Got the background laid out on the fusible interfacing and it looks like the pile of scraps has not been touched!

It’s either going to be plenty large–somewhere around 30″ sq–or it will need to be twice as large! I haven’t decided yet.

Laid out some papers for size and spacing ideas.

Pretty busy…

Fewer looks better…

I haven’t decided yet.

Various size ideas. Lots of small houses, some big, some small, one large house???? Straight rows, random, diagonal rows?

I haven’t decided yet.

Thought I’d make the doors all the same fabric. Which one do you like best? Maybe something shiny or glitzy? Maybe no doors?

I haven’t decided yet.

Lots to ponder and no questions have really been answered, so it’s definitely NOT decision day. However, that’s the point of playing and trying and moving things around…to GET to a decision that really says what I want it to.

Thinking time is as important as the doing time. Sometimes we forget that in our excitement about a new project and our eagerness to get to the finish. I used to worry about what I called ‘dithering over the decisions.’ Now I accept that it’s an essential part of the process, at least for me. And it took me a long time to realize that it might mean a particular idea needs more than one piece to explore it. That might be the case here.

I haven’t decided yet.



Halloween string tree

I’ve been playing hooky from my floor prep duties. I promised a string pieced picture to my daughter-in-law and I could not stay away from the sewing machine!

The background was done and the tree image was sketched in—only needed to decide on the actual tree thread/yarn. And she loves glitz as much as I do, so it wasn’t that hard.

I’m not sure what the official name of this machine foot is, but I call it the free-motion couching foot and it made the finishing of this project super easy! [Edit: Bernina #43 Free Motion Couching Foot–ha! I got the name of it right!]

The yarn goes through a hole in the side and is fastened down as you quilt! Love it! Here’s how it looks up close and happy!

And I am so happy with the final project!

I’m pretty sure Casey will love it, too. Shhhh…..she hasn’t seen it yet! I plan on getting it to her before this posts, though!

Can’t wait to make more of these now!

Bad Student and Big-Time Selfish!

There are several directions in which I could go with this blog post. But I’ll start by saying that I am not a professional writer and can’t just pick a topic and write 1000 words and post it on the guild blog to make everyone happy! I write about what’s happening in my life and what I’m working on, so this post will be on both my personal blog and the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild blog.

Now everyone who knows me or who has read blogs that I have written, knows that I love to take classes–especially with the world class teachers that the guild brings in. I firmly believe that there is something to be learned from every single class that I participate in. The next one I’m taking will be with Paula Golden on Nov. 17.

Class with Barb Vedder

Class with Deborah Boschert

I’ve been a sewer for over 50 years, so I do know a fair amount about what to do with fabric. In classes, I try to follow the teacher’s instructions, do it her way, learn her methods. Well, in this class, I am already planning to be a BAD student. I truly do know how to be free and easy, think outside the box and cut loose with what I’m doing. I’m going to listen and then go my own way with that instruction. What I will push for is instruction on using the unusual fabrics and embellishments that the supply list suggests we bring. I’ve experimented and am continuing to experiment, but I want to pick the teacher’s brains as much as possible for as long as I am with her!

And that is kind of what made me be big-time selfish at a recent meeting. There was a whole huge amount of those fancy fabrics on the ‘free’ table and I took them ALL! I plan to share in class, but I felt so greedy when I took all of THIS!

There is no way that I’ll be able to use all of this in my lifetime, but I want to have choices for class. I also want to encourage everyone in class with me to TRY something unusual, something that is not cotton, something that misbehaves until you learn how to handle it! (And to take a bunch of it home with them, too!)

So, yes, I am going to be THAT student–the one who doesn’t obey the rules, who doesn’t listen to precise instruction, who goes her own way. But I believe that is what this class is designed to do, and that’s my plan!

I don’t know if there is still room in that class for any other bad girls to join in, but I would welcome you! It’s always good to have a partner in crime!


Slow life and lovin’ it!

Progress is always slow when hand work is involved. Especially handwork that makes your fingers sore! Of course, I’m not in a hurry to get anything done, so I’m enjoying what I call laziness. I’ve done a bit of reading, a bit of napping and a bit of furniture moving while our kitchen floor was being refinished. And there will be a LOT of furniture moving next week since the living room floor is being replaced. In the meantime, I’ve had a good time working on ‘couch’ projects. Like a bunch of unlabeled fibers–cotton and rayon, I think–that were in large skeins that I rewound into small skeins and plan on dyeing.

I was able to get my favorite beading area set up again, even though it will be temporary!

I hit our vintage market last weekend and found some things that I have wanted for ages! Spotted these chairs from the road and HAD to stop.

And these baskets were in the back corner. I was only going to buy one but my husband convinced me that I’d never find another pair like these, so I got them both…and someone else wanted them even as we were doing the transaction! Whew!

And spent all my sewing time playing with these flowers. What I like is that you can’t really see the embroidery and beading details until you get up close. That’s my main reason for doing it…that added interest as you approach and examine the art.

This is my favorite flower.

And a look at the finished project, ready to be mounted on the green wool.

Really loving my laid back life right now. It’s so much fun doing what I enjoy with no pressure to finish a thing!


Ouch–sore fingers!

I’m adding some hand stitching to my floral piece. It’s not particularly noticeable, what with all the color already in the flowers, but it seems appropriate.

However—and it’s a BIG qualification–sewing through layers and painted fabric isĀ  hard to do. My fingers are very, very sore from pushing and pulling the needle.

Here are pictures of each flower and that is really as far as my fingers can go right now!

I’m hoping that adding beads, with the finer needle, will be a little easier on the fingers. I need to attach the stems first, though, so that I won’t have any more pins sticking me while I’m working! Then beads–hooray!

Working and having fun

Had to do some of the fall yard work so I didn’t have much time to play with my projects today. You know, it’s great having lots of trees and plenty of shade in the summer, but in the fall when all those leaves are on the ground……………not so much. I wouldn’t mind so much looking like the derelict, unraked yard on the block, but then we’d actually BE the derelict, unraked yard!

I’ve been working on both my string scrap projects. Easy to do when you have wet paint and washed out stabilizer and you’re just waiting…and waiting! The taller one had a few spots–well, quite a few– where the fabric was very loose. I’ll admit that I was impatient to see it and did not stitch as well as I should have.

Lucky for me, I have a machine foot that allows me to address the issue and continue stitching without adding stabilizer over the top again.

It’s made to be able to add yarn or other embellishment, but all I needed for this was the ability to have it slide over the strings without getting caught.

Next step–deciding on the design that will be stitched on top of the strings. I loved the stencil that I had on the last one, and ended up going with it again, with a few adjustments.

I used black on the heavyweight stabilizer side that it was drawn on and I used bright red in the bobbin. I wanted to be sure to see it when I was stitching from the top!

I want to end up with very thick branches, so I might use that foot as it was intended and add some yarn, but COLOR??????? Do not know what to choose, so that’s where this is at right now. Waiting for the color to speak to me.

I also have to make some decisions on the other string piece. My original idea was to mount it to a piece of painter’s drop cloth, all raw edges and a turned over top edge for the sleeve. That idea is not eliminated, but I had to try some wool.

Threw both possibilities on the design wall and liked them enough to try each one separately.

Like them both, very much. Sigh! While I don’t want this to be done solely to say it’s finished, my decision making is moving very slowly. Not a bad thing, but it’s different for me. I don’t even know yet if or what I might be adding to the flower parts. But I want it right and I will take all the time I need to be happy with it!

Hockey season has started for the Wolverines as well as the grandson, so some of our weekend time will be taken up with games throughout the winter. Love it and the bonus is that there are TWO intermissions in every game and that’s lots of time to think about artwork!! All right–Let’s Go Blue!

Aaaaaaand….the fabric has to dry, too!

Working with the string pieces is a lot of fun, but the water soluble stabilizer adds one more dimension of waiting to the process. It actually needs to be washed out, so of course the fabric needs to dry. I could throw the pieces in the dryer, but on a larger piece where the stitching is not extremely close, you risk losing chunks. Oh, what the heck? It’s scraps and I have plenty more to replace any that get lost in the dryer!

In two widths, no less!

So…lay out the strips, cover with stabilizer, pin, stitch…

After rinsing and before anything else is done–actually, this is while it is still wet–and now is the time I check for any big loose chunks that will fall down by shaking it around and seeing what happens.

I can see that my ‘sky’ is not level and I found a few loose parts, so more scraps and more stitching will be happening. That’s as far as I got today….oh, I did get this pinned up on the design wall.

It’s waiting for the design part of my brain to tell me what the next step is. More embellishment? Beads? Hand stitching? How am I going to attach the flowers to the background? I have decided that those little strips with the dark paint are not needed, so that’s at least one decision made!

And I’ve been asked, “Why don’t you use tulle over the top and then you don’t have to wash away the stabilizer?” Mainly, I don’t like the look of the tulle over the top! But the stabilizer really does stabilize. It’s much thicker and gives a good base for the stitches to grab onto. If I’m going to use tulle, it’s going to be for adding color and texture, not as a stabilizer.

While the fabric is drying, I’ll try to figure out what silhouette I’m going to stitch on top of that background. I want something a bit more robust than the last one I did. And this one is also taller…so much variation possible from the same pile of scraps. Love this!